Sunday, May 23, 2010
Nature Walk at Bog Meadow
It was my birthday yesterday, and what better way to spend it than leading a nature walk along Bog Meadow Trail? We had a nice bunch of folks, including several children, my good buddy Sue, and naturalist Ed Miller, who is renowned among wildflower enthusiasts of Saratoga County and beyond. I was really glad to have Ed along, since he has much to teach me and spied a number of plants I might have missed. Here he sits on a shady bench as we rested up for our return to our cars. (I'm afraid that Ed and Sue and I may have got so wrapped up in our botanizing that everyone else had gone home long before.)
One of the great things about having kids along is that they tend to see the critters that we flower nerds often miss. Look at the beautiful snail this young man named Samuel found.
Since I was leading the walk, I couldn't take the time to take many photos, but I did case the trail the day before to locate some of the plants of interest along the trail. Here's a partial list of those I found.
Buckbean, which grows in standing water along the trail. I would have missed this if Sue hadn't called my attention to it.
Clintonia, with yellow-green lilylike flowers that are easy to miss among the general greenery. Another name for this plant is Bluebead Lily, because of the beautiful big blue berries it bears later on.
Common Fleabane, a sweet little daisy-like flower with eyelash-narrow petals. A related plant, Daisy Fleabane, blooms a little later in the summer.
Wild Geranium, also called Cranesbill because of the long beaked seeds that form from the pretty purple blooms.
Mayapple, whose large white flowers will later produce the velvety pale-yellow fruits that are the only non-poisonous part of this plant.
Wool Sower Gall, not a fruit, but a fuzzy pink-polka-dotted growth that is caused by the tiny wasp Callirhytis seminator injecting its eggs into the tissue of oak leaves.
Speaking of insects, I picked a few of these deer ticks off me after spending the morning crawling about in the woods. I hope everybody did a good body check when they got home.
I'm off to Mt. Kisco downstate tomorrow to stay with my grandkids the rest of the week, so I may not be able to post any blogs for a while. But don't give up on me, I'll be back. Maybe I can visit some of the nature preserves of Westchester County. For sure I'll have nature adventures next weekend up in the Adirondacks at Pyramid Lake.